Advice and Information

Registering to vote and the Electoral Register

Below are a selection of queries or questions you may have about the Electoral Register or registering to vote.

How is my data used?

The Electoral Register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public Elections. There are two Registers. The Electoral Register and The Open Register.

If you wish to know more, please visit our page on the Two Registers.

How can I register to vote?

You can apply online via or contact the Electoral Services. They can send you a registration form via the post. You will need your National Insurance number and date of birth to register.

Why do I have to provide my National Insurance number?

Under the new system (Individual Electoral Registration), people will need to provide a few more details about themselves in order to register to vote. These are your date of birth and National Insurance number. These details are checked against government records to verify the persons identity. 

Can anyone use the Register to find me?

If you have opted out of the Open Register, the only way someone can find your details is by going in person to one of four Libraries in Bournemouth, or the Town Hall, and viewing the Full Register under supervision. The Full Register lists electors by address, not name. 

The four Libraries that hold the Full Register are: Bournemouth (Triangle) Library, Kinson (Hub) Library, Castlepoint Library and Boscombe Library. 

If you have concerns that being on the Electoral Register would put you or your family members at risk, you can apply to register to vote anonymously. Anonymous registration means that your details will not appear on the Open Register or the Electoral Register.

You will need to provide evidence of the risk with a court order, injunction or an attestation from a qualifying officer (police officer or social services/social work officer). Please note that you cannot apply for anonymous registration online at this time.

You will need to fill out and send in a special postal form. You can contact the Electoral Services for this form. 

Which details appear on the Register?

The only details that appear on the Register are your name, address and a marker that determines which Elections you can vote in. If you are under 18, the date of your 18th birthday will also be shown.

What do I do if I move home?

When you move you need to re-register to your new address. If you have registered since you moved to your new home, you do not need to register again. When you register you can provide your previous address so that your new local authority can make sure you're removed from the register at your old address. 

Below are some common myths you may have heard about registering to vote:

Myth: If you pay council tax, you're automatically registered to vote

Truth: Even if you pay council tax, you will not automatically be registered to vote, so you need to make sure you are. Why not register to vote right now? 

Myth: I won't be able to vote because I'll be at work when the polling station is open, or because of family/childcare issues.

Truth: Polling stations are open from 7am until 10pm for all UK elections. Everyone should have time to fit voting in.

Plus you can now take your children with you when you go to vote.

If you're unable to make it to the polling station you can apply for a postal vote. You could also ask someone else to cast your vote for you (a proxy). It's always best to be registered, so if you change your mind you've got the option to vote if you want to.

Myth: You can only register once a year during the canvass

Truth: You can register at any time of year. The Register is updated each month. If you move house or change your name or citizenship you'll need to re-register. That way, if an election is called at short notice, you will be able to vote. 

Myth: When I register to vote, my details will be passed on to lots of marketing companies

Truth: The Open Register is available for general sale and can be used for commercial activities like marketing. When you register to vote, you can choose to tick a box to opt out of the Open Register. This means your details will not be used this way. For more information, visit our page on the Two Registers.

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